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Hello world!

Super-secret restaurant spy.

The last days of my secret identity.

It’s me, stepping out of the closet… or perhaps more accurately, the pantry.

I’m looking forward to starting this blog, and putting all my reviews and work in one place. Please know that this website is a work in progress, and I’ve only begun loading reviews from restaurants across the state. Even then, my goal is not to post reviews of every Georgia restaurant, just those I think you ought to know about — especially those that haven’t gotten a lot of ink (or… pixels?).

But I’m having to sort through another issue as well. In nearly 20 years of writing about food and restaurants, it’s been easy enough to avoid being photographed to maintain anonymity. For the most part, no one was on the lookout for me to begin with — my friend and fellow cookbook writer Joe Dabney calls me the “stealth critic.”

Last year, when my Atlanta Classic Desserts cookbook came out, I wouldn’t do signings unless in disguise. Or even TV. At some point, I’ll post the thoroughly cringe-worthy blue-wigged interview I did for Every Day with Marcus and Lisa.

But then came Facebook. For a while, I wouldn’t befriend the genuine friends I’d made over the years who worked in PR — I didn’t want them to see my photos and share them with their restaurant pals and clients. Somehow, too, the rules started changing — critics I admired posted their photos. Some even accepted freebie meals or announced their presence, or used their real names for reservations, something I don’t do. (I want to be treated like anyone else.)

With the publication of my second cookbook, Atlanta Kitchens, my Georgia Trend editor and I agreed: If restaurants didn’t know who I was by now, they likely either didn’t care, or didn’t put together my pseudonymous reservation with the review. When bookstores asked for a signing, I agreed to do them, without extracting a promise I could be in disguise. When the AJC wanted to do a story on the cookbook, I even gave them a choice of photos — including both a Warholized version I’ve used in the past, and something that looked more like me.

Bob Townsend’s piece was posted online today, and it’s a thoughtful, lovely story. (Thanks, Bob!) But I haven’t yet seen the print edition, which comes out tomorrow. I don’t know yet if I’ve been outed with a recognizable photo.

Whatever the case, all I can think is: Thank you, Lord, for allowing me to stow away the blue wig for good.

7 Responses to “Hello world!”

  1. Maryn says:

    First!! Site looks great.

    If the blue wig needs a home, I’ll take it. Can I have the scarf that goes with it?

    The new site is gorgeous, and welcome to the world of blogging. One small issue for your designer: The text color for the name/mail/site blocks about is set to white – but so is the background color when you are in the block. So you can’t see what you are typing until you tab out of it. Quick fix: Set the background color to some paler version of the page backgrounds instead of plain white. That way you’ll maintain the thematic unity but alow people to see what they are typing.

  2. admin says:

    Thanks, Maryn! I will send that along to the people who know what it all means.

    Might consider a trade of the purple scarf/green shoes ensemble….

  3. Very much enjoying the new blog, keep up the good work!

  4. Patty says:

    Well, look at you! All grown up, wearin’ your own hair and all. Love the site. It’s fresh and interesting and pretty. You’ve been duly bookmarked.

  5. Congratulations on the launch of your new website. Julie showed me some previews.

    Odd, but I’ve never seen you in disguise.

  6. Krista says:

    Thanks, everybody, and especially Maryn for helping me de-bug the place. You see, Mike, that’s just how good I became at it — you’ve never seen me *out* of disguise.

  7. Mae says:

    So happy to see the new website, which looks terrific, by the way. And thanks for blogging about Nam, one of my fave ATL restaurants…

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